Trust Scientific Meeting “Strange meeting: the relevance of Tavistock history and methods to the Brexit crisis"
The Tavistock and Portman has a long tradition of democratically
based working methods and management practices, which are in danger of being
lost or forgotten. In the not so distant past most leadership positions in the
trust were elected, and many of our core training methods can be traced back to
Wilfred Bion’s experiments in military ‘democracy’ at Northfield, and beyond
this to the influence of Quaker practices among the Tavistock’s founders.
In this paper I want to revisit and perhaps recover a sense of this history and its significance for mental health work. But also, in the context of our national Brexit ‘crisis’, in which there is much talk of ‘broken politics and a failure of representative democracy, explore other traditions of democracy of which we have experience – participatory, direct, deliberative – as a contribution to the wider search for ways of renewing our nation’s political culture. The Tavistock’s roots lie in a certain culture of radicalism, and present times seem to call for creatively radical thinking.
Andrew Cooper is Professor of Social Work at the Tavistock Centre and the University of East London, a psychoanalytic therapist, and convenor of the long running series of Tavistock Policy Seminars.
Speaker: Professor Andrew Cooper
Chair: Dr Julian Stern